flash flooding

Firefighters say they now have full containment of the monster 282,000 acre Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, the inferno which set the stage for this week's flash flooding in Montecito.

The fire is the largest in modern day state history.  It started off of Highway 150 near Santa Paula December 4th, and led to two deaths and the loss of more than a thousand homes and other buildings.

Tuesday’s flooding in Santa Barbara County caused death, destruction, as well as a new problem in the form of ocean pollution.

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials have closed a nearly 50 miles stretch of the county’s coastline to swimming, surfing and other activities. They say the water has been contaminated by high bacterial levels, chemicals, and sewage carried into the ocean by the flood waters.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

An estimated 30,000 people in Santa Barbara County are currently impacted by evacuation orders of some type related to this week's big storm.

Some 7,000 residents are in a mandatory evacuation area still, and some 23,000 are in the voluntary evacuation zone.

Even for people outside of the direct disaster zone, there are a number of issues related to basic utilities.

The first major storm of the season for the Central and South Coasts is still on track to hit the region, but the arrival of the potentially heavy rainfall is now projected to be later than originally expected.

National Weather Service meteorologists now say the brunt of the storm should hit Southern Santa Barbara County between two and five a.m. Tuesday, and the heaviest rainfall in Ventura County is expected between four and seven a.m.

(Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A private campground on the South Coast was hit by flash flooding which washed away more than a dozen vehicles, and displaced some cabins Friday morning.

A creek which flows through the El Capitan Canyon campground overflowed. No one was hurt, but Santa Barbara County firefighters had to use special vehicles to rescue more than 20 people stranded in the upper campground area.  At least five cabins were swept off their foundations.  The campground is  near Gaviota, and just north of Highway 101 between the highway and the Santa Ynez Mountains.